Ontario NDP Chief of Staff Put on Leave Amid Manitoba Tickling Scandal

Ontario NDP Chief of Staff Put on Leave Amid Manitoba Tickling Scandal

By The Canadian Press

Stan Struthers
Manitoba Finance Minister Stan Struthers talks to media about the 2012-2013 budget at the Manitoba Legislature in Winnipeg, Tuesday, April 17, 2012. Michael Balagus, a former chief of staff in the Manitoba premier’s office, denied Friday that he had been about two complaints from women who said they were touched inappropriately by cabinet minister Stan Struthers. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods)
Michael Balagus
Michael Balagus(TORSTAR NEWS SERVICE)

TORONTO — Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has removed her chief of staff after he was accused of not taking seriously sexual misconduct allegations brought to him during his time at Manitoba’s legislature.

Horwath says that Michael Balagus, who also served as former Manitoba premier Greg Selinger’s chief of staff, has been placed on leave until she can determine whether it’s appropriate for him to continue working for the party.

In recent days, several women have come forward alleging former Manitoba finance minister Stan Struthers’ tickled and groped them.

In each case, the women said when they reported the behaviour, they were told to suck it up.

Struthers, who was in cabinet for more than a decade, has apologized for any interactions that made people feel disrespected or uncomfortable.

Balagus said in a written statement today that while the women reported the incidents to their superiors, at no time were the matters brought to his attention in the premier’s office.

CP - The Canadian Press

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